History Behind News

History Behind News

Others cover the news. We uncover the history behind it. History Behind News podcast is investigative history with scholars. We don't narrate history. Rather, we ask the questions of why and how we got here. We do this in weekly conversations with eminent scholars who explain the history behind current events. This is Adel, your host at HbN Podcast (https://historybehindnews.com), which I started to provide a better understanding of news through history. And I am committed to making history that is researched and written by scholars accessible and enjoyable to everyone. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/history-behind-news/support


September 29, 2023 78 mins

Did you know, that the compass, gunpowder, paper, and the printing press, all history-changing technologies, were invented in China? Yet, the realization of their economic values happened in Europe, not in China. This is the story of the steep price that imperial China paid for the sake of stability and scale, a story that Communist China seems to be repeating now.

Dr. Yasheng Huang of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, HbN's g...

  • From Gutenberg to Frankenstein to the Luddites to Edison to Ford and to AI - this is our story of fearing human creations, and also our story of embracing the next and newest technology.

    Dr. Robert Friedel of the University of Maryland rejects the generally accepted definition of "disruptive technologies" and explains how major innovations changed human history: from Gutdenberg's movable type printing press to artif...

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    "An Organic Democracy"? "Space is different. Come to Spain."

    Spain’s ignominious defeat in 1898 was an utter shock to Spaniards. Hopes of two republics vanished with civil war, and Franco’s “Organic Democracy” gave way to Spain’s Golden Age that was ultimately supplanted by polarized politics and inconclusive elections.

    Dr. Julio Ponce of the University of Seville places Spain's polarized politics in th...

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    September 1, 2023 91 mins

    “Is Haiti a Failed State?” I asked Dr. Robert Fatton. In the News: Haiti Gangs Destroying Civil Society!

    Our guest, Dr. Fatton, laments the near-total collapse of society in his homeland. In this episode, we uncover the history behind the following:

    • Haiti's gangs & vigilante groups
    • Abolishing Haiti's military & ineffective police force
    • History of foreign intervention (e.g., Hillary & Bill Clinton)
    • W...
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    Sweden's spectacular victories against Russia were later reversed by crushing losses to Russia that ended Sweden's Empire.

    Sweden is joining NATO. But why now? Why after more than two centuries of peace - a record longer than any other country! My guest in this episode, Dr. Ulf Zander who joined our conversation from Sweden, answers this question and much more.

    He explained the history of Sweden from the age of the Vikings...

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    August 18, 2023 68 mins

    History of Wars & Nation-building. Sovereign debt history of empires, city-states, early republics & parliaments, and democracies. On August 1, Fitch Ratings downgraded America's credit ratings from AAA to AA+, which means that Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark now have a better credit rating than we do. Fitch Ratings' stated reason for this month's downgrade is "erosion of...

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    Medieval Recipes & Eating Right in Renaissance. Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro - expensive weight loss drugs that are all the rage now.

    Okay, let's get something straight away. In centuries past, diet didn't mean weight loss. In fact, it wasn't until the 18th century that researchers, and later society, began to see fat and obesity as health and, unfortunately, a social issue.

    Going back to history, what did people eat...

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    Comparing Israel's Supreme Court to America's Supreme Court. 64 Israeli legislators, a slim majority of the Knesset, voted on Monday, July 24, to amend one of Israel's Basic Laws, and in so doing, they took away the Israeli Supreme Court's ability to strike down decisions that it finds "unreasonable in the extreme." WSJ, 7/24/23.

    As my guests in this episode, Dr. Guy Lurie and Dr. Amir Fuchs explain, the...

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    Barbenheimer, Hollywood's Strike & Hollywood's History

    Did you know, that the three stooges, Larry, Curly, and Moe, with their physical and slapstick comedy that we all know, never got a dime for all their movies we saw on our TVs? Why? Because those residual incomes were not in their contracts!

    As my guest in this episode, Professor Thomas Doherty explains, this strike is similar to the 1960 strike, in that in the...

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    As another civil war looms in Sudan, we review its history of kingdoms, powerful women, missionaries and messianic revolutions, civil wars and diversity.

    According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Sudan is on the brink of a full-scale civil war, the consequences of which may be calamitous, destabilizing a wide region, including the Horn of Africa and parts of the Middle East. Sudan itself is in a state of disaster. For ex...

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    July 14, 2023 67 mins

    Have economists predicted and prevented past recessions? Barely anyone is talking about a recession now. But just a couple of months ago, it was front-page and prime-time news.

    And here is an excerpt from a June 4th WSJ article:  “Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal in April put the probability of a recession at some point in the next 12 months above 50%. But they have said that since October, and the recession appears ...

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    Can Congress take away SCOTUS jurisdiction? Can states defy SCOTUS? Has SCOTUS lost its power and prestige? Is SCOTUS a political institution? Do its holdings bend to popular culture?

    Can universities consider race in their admissions process? No, they cannot... because the U.S. Supreme Court said so on Thursday, June 29th.

    Can President Biden erase more than $400 billion of America's student debt? No, he cannot... Becaus...

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    What is Decoration Day? Did the South celebrate the 4th of July?

    As it turns out, the history of the 4th of July is not that straightforward. For example, it took about a century for the recognition of our Independence Day as a federal holiday. And for some 80 years after the Civil war, some parts of the South, including Vicksburg, did not celebrate the 4th of July. It took WWII to create a new sense of nationalism, including the ...

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    Rome of the Pacific! Geneva of the Pacific! A city that aspired to eclipse New York.

    What do Nordstrom, Whole Foods, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and Crate & Barrel have in common? Care to guess?

    They all have left, or are leaving, San Francisco!

    I asked my guest, Dr. Gray Brechin, if we are seeing the lowest of the low for San Francisco in its history? A categorical "yes" was his answer! He adds that ...

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    A former U.S. president has been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents, including the willful retention of classified information and obstruction.

    The 49-page indictment of Mr. Donald Trump can be accessed via the following journals: NYTimes & WSJ.

    Did you know that the definition of classified information is largely dependent on presidential executive orders? And did you know that President Richard Nix...

    VA, WV, SC, MS, IA, TN, NE & FL National Guards to the Mexican border. Why? Because TX Gov. Abbot has asked for help. To learn about Gov. Abbot's Operation Lone Star program, visit the Texas Indigent Defense Commission site.

    But can they do that? Isn't regulating immigration the role and responsibility of the federal government? And what is "Immigration Federalism"?

    A recent New York Times article included ...

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    Danny Masterson. Donald Trump. Did you know that rape is the most underreported crime?

    Did you know that rape was originally a crime of trespass against property? Why property you may ask? Because the raped woman was deemed to be the property of her father or her husband!

    But what if, in the above original definition of rape, the rape victim was an unmarried orphan? This is more than an academic question. Because, as my guest, Prof...

    How would she feel about the first-ever U.S. default? How does she feel about high inflation?

    My guest, Jon Hilsenrath, a senior correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, tells us exactly how Secretary Yellen feels about inflation (a stain on her record), and would feel about the first-ever U.S. default (heart attack!).

    And he also explains how she was compelled to take this job — a job she initially declined.

    “These are fucking p...

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    From Atatürk to Erdoğan. From Secularism to Islamism. From a parliamentary system to absolute presidential power.

    Türkiye is set to hold a runoff election next week, on May 28th, between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the opposition leader, Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. And the general consensus is that Erdoğan is in the lead. This has come as a surprise and a disappointment to many, particularly since there is much discontent a...

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    Title 42 Expired.

    From Chinese & Catholic & Jewish immigrants of yesteryears to immigrations now at our southern border.

    After Title 42 expired last week, America expected a deluge of immigrants to pour over our border with Mexico. But the post-Title 42 reality hasn't yet met the awful specter that everyone feared.

    Regardless, the strains of migration from our southern border are not limited to the border states of A...

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